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Featured Shop: Karamelo

Jun 25, 2012

by karamelo handmade and vintage goods

You may have noticed today that we’ve tweaked the title of the “Featured Seller” series ever so slightly. “Featured Shop” reflects our focus on telling the story behind your shop. The interviews will remain as personal as ever. Enjoy.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am Kathrin, a mid-thirties mother of two living in Cologne, Germany. Originally, I studied photography, but now I’m working in a gallery for contemporary art and as a writer. I am in love with books, vintage photography, flea markets, cooking, traveling, horse riding and gardening. Chocolate, truffles, cake  and all other kinds of dessert are my soft spots. Karamelo is my creative outlet.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I like to spend time with my family, play with the kids, eat, cook, dig in our new vegetable patch, visit exhibitions, read blogs, books and magazines, do handicrafts, and fill my head with all kinds of stuff. I dream of relaxing and doing nothing, but actually I can’t!

What would be the title of your memoir?
There’s Always Something. It’s hard to satisfy me, especially when it comes to myself and my own work.

Where does your inspiration come from?
From my love for the little things. Nature is my biggest inspiration – watching the flowers in the wind while taking a walk, studying the leaves and fir cones, feeling the outer forms of a pebble in my hand or trying to find a greater order in the confused branches of a coppice. I collect all these little things and images and carry them home.

What does handmade mean to you?
Personally, it is my balance to my day job. Being creative with my hands satisfies me deeply.
Handmade is my favorite alternative to daily consumption. I enjoy looking for something very special that someone has created with love and respect. A handmade item carries the creative energy, the mind and the heart of its creator. That is what turns it into something very special and valuable.

Who has been most influential in your craft?
Most people around me are doing creative jobs, in a physical or a mental sense. But probably it is my husband who pushed me – and is still pushing me – into what I am doing. He is severely honest about my ideas and, most of the time, very clear in his critiques. That is enormously helpful for an indecisive person like me.

When did you know you were an artist/maker?

It was only a few years ago– after the birth of my second child and after going back to my job, when I felt I needed a balance to all that digital work sitting behind the computer. So I started doodling.

I first came in contact with different work-spaces, studios and workshops during my studies. I was mainly into photography, but was also interested in printing, drawing and lettering. After my diploma in photography, I decided not to continue with photography, and started working on the other side – in galleries.

How would you describe your creative process?
It is not a homogeneous process at all! Sometimes I am really quick in turning an idea into the final product — thinking, drawing, realizing. Other times I am dealing with a theme for weeks – collecting inspiration, thinking, doodling, abandoning, thinking again, searching for alternatives and then drawing again. Often I make a little drawing, pin it on the wall and come back to it months later.

If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
Hm, very difficult question. Perhaps it would be a sculptor who works in a classical way. Cutting out a model out of a boulder or a large piece of wood is a very fascinating process to me.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I own some old Indian drawings made by monks in the 17th or 18th century. They are very special in their look and technique. They partially show profane motifs, but they have a meaningful aura.

How do you get out of your creative ruts?
By doing something completely different – jogging or having a sauna. Something that switches off my circular way of thinking. It’s like a brain reboot.

Where would you like to be in ten years?
On a farm with my family and a few animals around me, with a huge garden and a spacious atelier. I’d like to be close to the city and the ocean (please!), and be within walking distance of cultural events. I’d like a very modern style house but with vintage touches: cozy and cool. Until then I would like continue doing the things I love and spend as much time as possible with the people I love.

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